Entrepreneur dubbed 'Scotland's Elon Musk' unveils hydrogen-powered van

A green guru dubbed ‘Scotland’s Elon Musk’ has unveiled the first hydrogen-powered van built in Britain. Entrepreneur Emil Rangelov, CEO of Glasgow-based HV Systems, is hoping to build zero carbon emission vans and lorries, in a bid to offer greener freight transport. He proudly showed off a prototype of the first hydrogen-powered van to be built in the UK – and orders are already coming in, despite the fact that this time last year the vehicle was just a sketch on a page.

Mr Rangelov and co-founder, Abdul Waheed, 34, are hoping the new five-and-a-half tonne H2Van will tackle harmful CO2 emissions. The H2Van can be refueled in six to ten minutes – hours quicker than electric cars, and reaches speeds of 65mph, carrying up to two tonnes of goods. It is also exempt from road tax and congestion charges, and the only byproduct of hydrogen power is heat and water.

Mr Rangelov, 31, has been compared to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who created a range of battery-powered electric cars. The fleet of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles will be powered by an electrical power train that works by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water while producing electricity through a fuel cell. Mr Rangelov, who is half-Russian, half-Bulgarian, said: “Last year we had the van on sketches, now we have it on wheels, so it’s quite a change.

“That has been a truly exciting journey. “Currently the vehicles are being developed with our team down in Coventry and one of our engineering partners in Germany. “We have a number of large customers who are placing pre-orders with us which has driven a very large demand.

“We’ve also moved into larger, heavier tractor-trailer units, that’s 40 tonne trucks. READ MORE: Hydrogen ferry to be built in Scotland
[1] “By mid-next year we will have the big truck ready to drive, so we’ll have a van and a truck.”

The Scottish Government has a greenhouse gas emissions target of net-zero by 2045, but Mr Rangelov believes the majority of vehicles will still be running on petrol and diesel. Mr Rangelov says his designs will save lives by improving air quality, as well as saving money. He said: “They have a lower total cost of ownership compared to ordinary diesel trucks.

“But to achieve this we need a combined push from the industry, from the component suppliers, from the freight companies and the government. “Otherwise we will be stuck in this situation and 2045 will come quite quickly and maybe we’ll only have five to ten per cent of the green vehicles on the road and the rest are still diesel and petrol powered. “That will lead to huge problems.

“Battery electric vehicles have a part in the market but they can’t replace every vehicle on the road. “The infrastructure can’t handle this, so you need another medium to store that energy and transport it – that’s where hydrogen comes in.” Plans are afoot to drive the H2Van, which is made from around 3,500 parts, from Glasgow down to London and back – a round trip of more than 800 miles.

The inventor believes it will be more cost effective than petrol and diesel, as the van can carry up to 15.8kg of hydrogen fuel. Mr Rangelov added: “One of the major advantages of hydrogen is fixed cost per mile. “Hydrogen costs GBP4 per kilo, and that can only go down as demand increases, and the fluctuating cost of fossil fuel from foreign countries is taken out of the picture.

“Hydrogen is the solution to bring a whole lot of jobs to the UK and a new industry.

“We will become energy independent.”


  1. ^ READ MORE: Hydrogen ferry to be built in Scotland (www.scotsman.com)

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